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Bad technique or bad shoes? La Sportiva Katanas and Mythos de-laminating

Original Post
Chris C. · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 10

My shoes seem to be de-laminating way too fast. I went through two pair of Mythos pretty quickly (few months each), then went to Katanas on Nov. 10, 2008, and they began to de-lam at the toes within a few weeks. Prior to that, the second pair of Mythos seemed to start de-laminating right away on a pretty warm day on the first Flatiron. I liked both Mythos and Katanas for fit and performance, but went with Katanas for a little more performance and felt like my performance went up right away, but I just used them a couple of days per week indoors with a couple of outdoor days on sport routes, before they began to de-lam. Seemed odd. The better I climb, the faster I go through shoes. Finally took Katanas back to Bent Gate, they checked with La Sportiva, and then Bent Gate said word from La Sportiva was that it was my technique that was to blame. Salesman at Bent Gate said he didn't notice any scuffing around the toe that would indicate bad technique, but they couldn't exchange them if La Sportiva said no. Does that sound valid? Should I abandon La Sportivas? Bent Gate? Or just accept that with my technique (whatever I'm doing wrong), I'll need to buy shoes every six weeks or so? Seems unreasonable. I'm 200 lbs, been climbing about two years, about 5.10+ level indoors, lead 5.9 - 5.10 outdoors. Thanks for any thoughts on the subject!

SAL · · broomdigiddy · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 790


I would not do away with either for the main fact that there is tons of variables that effect footwear. Especially rock shoes.
It could be any brand shoe and you could experiance the same shiiz.
heat does have A LOT to do with delams. even leaving your shoes in the car will delam a shoe. Heat deactivates the glue. cobblers and shoe repairs of course use heat guns to take soles off of shoes and replace them. Also, Even the slightest toe drag can speed this up. We all do it if we maintain balance in some given moves on routes. That of course drags the toe gently across the rock with enough pressure to only effect the seam between the rand and the outsole.
So a few tips in general. Dont leave shoes in your car or exposed to heat. if you see a delam starting. Get some heavy duty glue and patch it back up. I have a pretty good system if you want beta on it let me know. anyways. Also, Climbing in the gym for me seems to have different results on shoes than outdoor climbing. So that could play a factor. Maybe try a more down turned shoe as then if you are draggn a bit it will wear on the rand rather then the outsole/rand seam.
If anything I bet sportiva would be willing to patch them up for you if they didnt already on the return. They should do at least that.
To answer your question on a vaild 86. Of course if there is not enough show of "defect" rather then just wear on the shoes then chances are they will not be replaced but rather just repaired. Bent Gate only relays the warranty of the manufacturer. They pretty much just play the middle man on the situation.

I'd check back in with Sportiva and express your concerns. See if they could at least get some work done on your shoes. I know the boyz in back there and they can do some fine repair jobs.


John McNamee · · Littleton, CO · Joined Jul 2002 · Points: 1,690

I've heard from people who resole soles that Sportiva's glue can sometimes not be the best.

In my opinion Sportiva does not stand behind their product in the USA. Any attempt to contact them directly is usually ignored or messages not returned. I don't buy Sportiva's any more because of it. My Katanas did the exact same thing as yours and it's not my footwork.

Steve Pulver · · Williston, ND · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 460

Did you buy them all from the same place?

Lauer · · Duluth, MN · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 0

I can second the fact that La Sportiva customer service sucks. I had problems with the velcro on a pair of shoes almost instantly after purchase and they just told me to go to a cobbler and get it fixed and pay for it myself.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 883

I had the same problem on La Sportiva Baracudas. After very few uses, the sole was delaminating rather significantly on both shoes. I'm just gonna take them to Rock and Resole for some new soles. They seem to do a better job than the original manufacturer.

Jonas Salk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 10

wow. i was just talking about how much i love my mythos....weird.

Keith · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 5

With Katanas, I bet it's the shoe. I wear both shoes. Two pair Mythos that have both been resoled at least once. I don't remember delamination of the original rubber. With Katanas I had delam problems with the original. And really bad delam problems out of the fed ex box after a poor resole. Since getting a good resole (MO Rubba, St. Louis) they have been perfect, and I do drag my toes sometimes. IMO toe dragging is not always poor technique. Others I know who have Katanas have also had delam problems with the initial rubber.

If the shoes fit well, find a good resoler and don't bother with La Sportiva cust serv. True, it will cost you more than an exchange. But you were willing to purchase a second pair of Mythos, so upgrade for 30 bucks and be happy.

Victor Lawson · · Bishop, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 260

I've never had my Katanas delam...I have 5 pairs in three diff. sizes. It's been my shoe from v7 in the Buttermilks to the Salathe Wall on el cap...

Not saying it's your technique, it's just your luck.

Chris C. · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 10

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. FYI, here is my recent purchase history:

4/7/07 - LS Mythos
7/26/08 - LS Mythos
11/10/08 - LS Katana

I don't keep shoes in the car any longer than it takes to get back and fort to the crag, except as long as it takes to get a beer at Southern Sun afterwards. :-)

SAL - I'd be interested in the beta on your system that you mentioned.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! It's disappointing to learn about La Sportiva customer service - I like their shoes when they're new, but I need them to last longer. Guess I'll send my last two pair to Rock and Resole, cross my fingers that they last longer once re-soled, and look for a different manufacturer next time.

Jim O'Brien · · Branford, CT · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 565

I wonder if it is the fit of the shoe that contributes to the de-lamination of a sole. It seems logical that the tighter the shoe, the more tension on the adhesive. I have seen some de lam with another shoe, not LS, but was easily repaired by me with some good glue and a clamp. I am researching my next shoe purchase, Mythos and Barracudas are high on my list.
My buddy Joe wears the mythos but had some issues with delamination- I attribute that to his climbing style- very much a rouge on the rock. Mike on the other hand climbs with finesse wearing the barracudas and swears they are the best he's ever climbed with, no issues there.
Guess I'll find out come the spring!

SAL · · broomdigiddy · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 790


Good point. I would also consider what thickness the rubber is. For instance the Katana's can have 3.5mm to 4mm rubber on them as some other shoes will have a 5mm outsole which tends to stick together much better and last longer. You loose sensativaty with this though.


Fixing your own delams is pretty easy. The tools you will need will be a bastard file, a heat gun. and possibly a dremmel tool but not required.

Step 1.
Remove all the old glue from the rubber on both sides.
use the heat gun to open up the delam a bit more so you can repatch the surrounding areas to the delam. Use the bastard file to file off some old glue. ( you can use a chemical cold MEK. It will eat that old glue right up. Just be carefull with it as it will delam anything it touches :) Use a toothbrush with the MEK to scrub off old glue. let the shoes dry off.
Step 2. Use a barge cement or an industrial glue of some sort for an adhesive. apply the glue to both sides of the rubber or shoe opening. Let that glue dry. DONT TACK IT TOGETHER YET!.
once the glue dries and has a good bond to both sides. Take your heat gun and heat it back up. NOt to the point of gooey gooey but enough to make it want to tack and stick back up. Then go ahead and tack the shoe together. I use the bastard file to fold over the rubber. especially if it is on the toe. This helps avoid in air pockets underneath which will of course blow out.
STep 3.
Let them sit for a solid hour to dry and tack up. Then take your dremmel tool if you have one or your bastard file and clean the excess glue off the toe or outside of the shoe.
Should hold up fine for you.

The main trick is to remove all the old bad glue and get a fresh coat on there.
Good Luck!

Don't cast out Sportiva just yet. There CS has gotten much better in the last few years so unless you had a bad experiance there in the last year I'd give em another shot. Cant beat a lot of their models of shoes.


Derek Lawrence · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 695

I've had 2 pairs of Katanas (and 1 pair mythos) delam at the toe. THe 1st time I returned them as defective since i bought at rei... the 2nd pair delam'd again within a month - i didnt want to keep returning them so i just had them resoled. the resole held up MUCH better.

I will NOT be purchasing La Sportiva again

Adrian Hill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2002 · Points: 15

I think the Katanas are a great shoe, but there are clearly quality
control issues with the glue. I have two pairs - one has been great,
the other delaminated almost immediately. I have had one pair resoled and they seem to hold up to resoling very well. Also, the resole has
not delaminated, so maybe my footwork is better now :)

Anyone know any of the La Sportiva reps? Maybe they could post a response since this seems to be a widespread problem.

Evan S · · Denver, Co · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 510

Most people I talk to, including myself (yes, I talk to myself) have issues with sportiva. Their high end climbing boots (nepal evo, batura, etc.) are great, but most of their rock, trail and running shoes come apart pretty quickly. I tore through the toes on some mythos in a month, and my trail runners started delaming the very first time I used them. I buy scarpa now, the technos are a better fitting, higher performance shoe along the same lines as the mythos, that's what I would go for.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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